Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Big Picture Revision

Imagine you've just put together a very complicated 1000-piece puzzle. It was tricky, but you beat it. All the pieces are in place... except one. You count the pieces. There are 1000 pieces. It should be perfect, but it's not. Somehow you put the puzzle together wrong, leaving a hole where none should be.

It's time for revisions. Not polishing-the-pieces revisions. Taking-the-whole-puzzle-apart-and-putting-it-back-together revisions.


That's how I feel today. I'm working on BIG PICTURE revision. That's not the line-editing type where you change out "floated" for "walked" or get rid of excess adverbs. That's the kind where you pull up full-grown sunflowers by their roots and try to replant them elsewhere.

Too many metaphors?

Sorry. I'm in BIG PICTURE revision mode, which means my brain is in creative overdrive. It's fun because I get to write completely new scenes and plug them in, or add in a sneaky character detail that I just now thought of to make my villain more present, even though he's kind of behind the scenes like Voldemort.

But as I get closer to the end, I'm getting anxious. At some point, I'll have all 1000 pieces put together again, and I'm terrified of that gaping hole that shouldn't be there. What if it's always there? What if I can't close it up with some brilliant plot twist or rational explanation?

Writer fail.

How do you organize your big picture edits so they don't sneak up on you with a million untied strings at the end?


  1. I am right there with you lol, and I'm still trying to figure out how I want to go about making the necessary changes this time. Fun. Stuff. Good luck!! :)

  2. Errggg! I hate this! I had to do that with my recent WIP--I had to switch some chapters and everything got flipped around. Then I had to just take a big step back so I could look at my mess all at once and try to fix it. It's frustrating, I know. Just hang in there and know that the story and your characters are worth it!

  3. I've been doing a BP rewrite for the last month or so--the end is in sight. I tackle it by doing passes for specific changes or red flags. First time through, plot events that don't mesh with each other or add to the arc. Next time through, tension or character development or flow. And so on.

    This time around, the big one has been emotional development and inner dialogue.

    Good luck with yours! OMG--word verification is moper! How'd they know I was whining?

  4. Good luck! I kind of think big picture revisions are fun. I just did one with my second WIP. Once I had it all worked out, it fit together so perfectly--it felt like it had always been the story. I think that is how you know if you got it right :)

  5. I recently had a cry fest regarding my BP revision firstly my goal was 100,000 when I put my mss back together its sky rocketed to a amount that won't be suitable to query, unless I morph into a best seller which likely will not happen.

    My known suspects are adjectives, ROS, etc. I also had the cry fest because I thought I lost a epic scene that took me months to write I found it last night (Yippie) but that contributed to me being over WC .

    Also I made the huge mistake writing my rewrite in sections thinking that would not be too overwhelming (I was so wrong)I am going through the Hardcopy and trying to organize the major scenes and many will be on the cutting floor.

    Dont fret your never alone.

  6. Hugs. I haven't done any huge BPR yet, but i do sometimes add chapters in after a first draft and have to plant the ideas along the way. There will be lots of OMG emails when the time comes for me to do this though ;D


  7. This is so frustrating. I went back and did this during winter semester, and I felt like my head was going to explode. I tried to start on my second book, but just couldn't handle it right now and went back to the line edit on the first ;p I know you can do it, Katrina! Keep going!

  8. I had to do some major big picture revisions earlier this year. They were exciting, scary, stressful, and wonderful all at the same time. I ended up loving my story even more than before after I found that 1000th puzzle piece. Good luck and hang in there :)


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